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Department or Administrative Unit

Primate Behavior and Ecology

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Theoretical definitions of dominance, how dominance is structured and organized in nature, and how dominance is measured have varied as investigators seek to classify and organize social systems in gregarious species. Given the variability in behavioral measures and statistical methods used to derive dominance rankings, we conducted a comparative analysis of dominance using existing statistical techniques to analyze dominance ranks, social context-dependent dominance structures, the reliability of statistical analyses, and rank predictability of dominance structures on other social behaviors. We investigated these topics using behavioral data from captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and wild Tibetan macaques (Macaca thibetana). We used a combination of all-occurrence, focal-animal, and instantaneous scan sampling to collect social, agonistic, and associative data from both species. We analyzed our data to derive dominance ranks, test rank reliability, and assess cross-context predictability using various statistical analyses. Our results indicate context-dependent dominance and individual social roles in the captive chimpanzee group, one broadly defined dominance structure in the Tibetan macaque group, and high within-context analysis reliability but little cross-context predictability. Overall, we suggest this approach is preferable over investigations of dominance where only a few behavioral metrics and statistical analyses are utilized with little consideration of rank reliability or cross-context predictability.


This article was originally published in Scientific Reports. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.


Scientific Reports

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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